ABILENE — A variety of activities are scheduled this weekend in recognition of President Dwight Eisenhower’s birth.
Unless otherwise noted, events are open to the public at no charge.
A museum rededication and ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum in Abilene highlights the weekend celebration. The ceremony begins at 11 a.m. Saturday with a keynote address delivered by Mary Jean Eisenhower, Dwight and Mamie’s granddaughter.
The museum exhibits open for public viewing following the ribbon cutting at noon. Admission is free all day. This includes the museum exhibits and boyhood home tours. Tickets for scheduled, guided tours of the boyhood home are required and may be picked up in the visitors’ center or museum lobby.
“This ceremony marks the project as complete and we are thrilled to celebrate with our guests,” said Dawn Hammatt, Eisenhower Presidential Library director.
The project planning and fundraising phases were approximately a four-year undertaking with the exhibit renovation beginning in May 2018.
“The exhibits opened on July 29, but we felt it was important to celebrate this significant accomplishment during Eisenhower’s birthday weekend,” added Hammatt.
This is your opportunity to meet Ike and Mamie again…for the first time! Using Ike and Mamie’s own words, the new exhibits are complete with technology and interactive components. Examine historically significant artifacts and documents from the archives that reveal Dwight’s remarkable life. Follow Mamie as she becomes Ike’s life partner and they venture on “their career.” Hear Ike’s voice on issues ranging from D-Day to world peace in the new mini-theaters. Finally, reflect on Ike’s lifetime of public service and his legacy for the future.
Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero commented on Eisenhower’s importance in his own life.
“Many Americans felt a special connection to Ike. I did, and the Eisenhower Library found two letters I wrote him. One when I was 10 and included with my letter a toy stuffed elephant for him to share with his grandkids, and one when I was 14, stating ‘I admire you deeply,’ and asking for a signed photograph,” Ferriero said. “The new museum will offer those who remember Ike, and those who do not, a greatly enhanced opportunity to follow his remarkable career trajectory from ordinary boy to leader of the free world.”
Following is the full birthday weekend schedule.
4:30 p.m – Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Vigil Begins
(Kansas VFW Chapters stand guard at Dwight Eisenhower’s burial site)
7:30 a.m. – VFW Vigil ends
9:30 a.m. – Presidential Wreath Laying Ceremony
(conducted by Ft. Riley on behalf of the President of the United States)
9:45 a.m. – American Legion Pilgrimage
(Kansas American Legion Posts travel to honor President Eisenhower’s birthday)
11 a.m. – Museum Rededication and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
(Keynote Address presented by Mary Jean Eisenhower)
1 p.m. – Vintage Base Ball Game
(Dwight Eisenhower’s favorite sport)
5:30 p.m. – Eisenhower Foundation Legacy Gala
(Sold out ticketed event)